Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Brand New Year

My husband and I were talking to the kiddo last night about the "new year" and the symbolism behind it.  Many people look to the new year as a fresh start and resolve to do many things in the coming year.

I'm still thinking about how I want to approach this year and what I'd like to focus on.

I do know that I've neglected my blog and my blogging friends.  I didn't carve out the time to post to my blog or comment on other blogs as I might have liked.

I was thinking about this as I was making cookies for the kiddo this morning and I thought maybe some of you might like the recipe, even if it flies in the face of so many new year's resolutions.

I found this recipe over a decade ago on all recipes and it's still a favorite.  I warn you, though, it's not for the faint of heart.  You *must* like ...  love ...  adore chocolate and peanut butter.  You cannot shy away from sweets.  Finally, you must have the patience to wait 12 minutes for them to bake.

So, it's a chocolate peanut butter cookie chock full of peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and Reese's peanut butter cups.

Can you see those peanut butter cups?  Yummy!

Here they are ready to go into the oven.  These do not spread much (probably because there are more chips and cups than dough), so I don't worry about spacing them out too much on the cookie sheet.

And here they are freshly baked.

Peanut buttery goodness!

Have a happy new year!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (taken from this recipe by Joanna Knudsen)

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter *
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 and 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 bag mixed peanut butter and milk chocolate chips **
Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped ***

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and peanut butter with white sugar and brown sugar.  Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla.

Stir together the cocoa powder, flour and baking soda.  Add to the butter mixture.  Stir in the chips and peanut butter cups.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.


* I usually use creamy, but sometimes, if I am feeling wild, I'll use chunky peanut butter

** I was so excited to see this was actually a thing.  You can buy a bag of peanut butter chips and a bag of chocolate chips and use half a bag of each.

***  The original recipe calls for 10 cups, but I usually use way more than that.  This morning, I used 20 snack size cups.  Basically, if you think you have enough, double it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 Holiday Ornament Swap and Blog Hop

Wow!  I can't believe it's been four months since I've posted.  I'll give you a run down on what's been going on at a later time, though.  Today, it's all about the holiday ornament swap!

The ornament swap is organized by Sally Russick and is something I look forward to each year.

This year, I was excited to have Sally as my partner!  Sally is a master of many trades:  metal work, seed beading, photography.  Sally is also the mastermind behind the focus on life series that I participated in last year.

You can see that mastery in the ornament she sent.

It's so gorgeous!  I may or may not have squealed a bit when I opened the box.

I can imagine the hours of work that went into it.  It's too fabulous to pack away after the holidays, so I plan to keep in in my office all year long (next to Sandi's ornament from last year).

Thank you, Sally!  I am beyond grateful.

I also sent Sally a beaded ornament.  I beaded a bezel around a bead from Donna Millard.

I loved Donna's work and really wanted to do this bead justice.  My photo isn't the best.  I bet Sally takes a better one.

I also sent Sally a chain maille ornament.  It's a larger version of the Celtic Visions Star from Blue Buddha and was the December mailers choice kit.

Sally said Wyatt snapped it up.  I'm so glad he liked it!

Sally, thank you again and thank you for hosting this blog hop.

Please take some time and visit the other participants.  You will see some fabulous ornaments!

(To the other participants, I'm out of town this weekend, so I may not get hopping until this week, but I can't wait to visit everyone.)

1. Sally Russick and Tanya Goodwin (you are here)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pretty Palettes August Reveal

In November of last year, Erin Prais-Hintz started a Pretty Palettes color challenge on the Halcraft blog.

Each month, Erin picks a set of beads that coordinate with a color palette and invites her readers to create something using those beads.

A few months ago, Erin started partnering with guest bloggers.  It's always fun to see how two people use the same set of beads.

The inspiration for August comes from notion:creative, which showcases street art.

Erin picked a variety of beads

As much as I tried, I couldn't get those beads to play with each other.  I ended up doing a few pieces, each using some of the beads.

The first necklace uses those delicious brown rondelles and the red beaded beads.

I made a small Conway Bead, designed by Gwen Fisher, with red and brown seed beads.  It went perfectly with the brown and red beads.

The rest of the necklace is made using part of Catherine Hamilton's Orbital Ensamble necklace.  I like how the chain maille orbits echo the beaded beads.

The second necklace is similar to the first one, but I used the pink and white beads.  I also used small green/teal beads from Michael's that matched the larger teal disc beads from Erin.

I paired these with more Conway Beads.  I went a bit off here when I grabbed dark green seed beads in an attempt to match the teal discs from Erin.  Those beads have dark greens, blues and teals in them.  The green isn't quite the right shade.

The rest of the necklace is made using different part of the Orbital Ensamble necklace.  I had thought that a teal patina would work, but it didn't match.  Instead, I used a laurel green patina from Miss Fickle Media.  While the green matches the beaded beads, it is a bit off from the palette.

As with Heather's Michaels challenge, I used the smaller pink beads to make Sabine Lippert's Granada pendant.  (You can find the pattern for this in Sabine's book, Beaded Fantasies.)

This time around, I used white in the center and I *love* how it looked.

I actually used red and pink together!  I was amazed at how well they worked together.

I liked the design I used for the pendant in Heather's Michael's challenge, so I did something similar here.

I beaded a spiral rope using pink, red, teal, and brown, then hung the pendant from a brass chain.

The spiral rope shows off the jewel tones.

Finally, I used the teal discs to try an idea that had been swirling in my head.

I threaded three of them on a headpin and hung it like a pendant, similar to how I used one of Erin's beads here.

Then, keeping it simple, I made another spiral rope.  I couldn't find the right shade of teal to work with the disc beads, so I went with emerald.

I don't know if you can tell, but I used a teal seed bead for the base of the rope.  I also incorporated white and brown tones.

I still have an idea for the other two beaded beads.  I ran out of time to try it before the reveal, but it's banging around in my head, so you might see it soon.

Erin, I can't tell you how much of an honor it was to be chosen to work with you.  I had so much fun with these beads.  Thank you so much.

If you want to see what Erin made with these beads, check out the Halcraft blog.  I know she made something fabulous that you will want to see!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A very chain maille birthday

It seems my birthday was all about chain maille.

My parents gave me a very nice wubbers flat nose pliers which came in handy when my husband surprised me with a kit for Blue Buddha's Chunky Cuff bracelet, designed by W. John MacMullen.

When I first saw this bracelet, I wasn't sure about it, but after seeing it in person, I just *love* it.  John used a layering technique I hadn't seen before and the result is fantastic.  I have plenty of ideas using this technique.

I had a few leftover rings and made a simple pair of earrings.

In addition to the sunburst kit, my in-laws gave me the Nouveau pendant and earrings kit, designed by April Hannah Llewellyn.

I just love the colors -- so bright and fun!  The earrings are awesome to wear.  

I haven't worn the pendant yet because I haven't decided exactly how to build a necklace around it.  The kit came with a chain, but I want to make something special, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Halcraft Pretty Palettes

In November of last year, Erin Prais-Hintz started a Pretty Palettes color challenge on the Halcraft blog.

Each month, Erin picks a set of beads that coordinate with a color palette and invites her readers to create something using those beads.  A few months ago, Erin started partnering with guest bloggers.  It's always fun to see how two people use the same set of beads.

I was honored when Erin asked me to be her partner for the August Pretty Palette challenge.  Erin has such a way with color and design.  She can find inspiration in virtually anything:  color, literature, music, and travel, just to name a few.

The inspiration for August comes from notion:creative, which showcases street art.

Erin picked a variety of beads

I'm so excited to play!

You are more than welcome to play along.  Erin offers a link up every month.

The beads are from Michaels:

99042 Bronze Iris 10x14mm rondel
95109 Teal Dyed Jasper 9x14mm
93286 Dyed agate pink round 10mm
59593 Round dyed pink quartzite 6mm
89899 Bone carved melon 8x10mm
93359 Dyed red bamboo coral 14mm beaded beads

Check back on August 27th for the reveal, both here and on the Halcraft blog.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sunburst pendants

A few months ago, Paula from Flutterby Kisses created a chain maille pendant that mimics wirework.

After much begging (and not just from me), she created a tutorial for her Sunburst Pendant and it has gone viral.

Every day, it seems, someone posts a rendition of Paula's design.  Both Blue Buddha and C and T Designs have created kits for a smaller version of Paula's pendant.

My in-laws were kind enough to give me Blue Buddha's copper and brown sunburst kit for my birthday.  I love Blue Buddha's kits because there always seem to be extra rings.  Instead of the three pendants promised, I made five!

I played around with the pendants and liked the way they looked linked together.

I added two herringbone ropes and a necklace was born.

I wanted to use a sunburst for a clasp, but it just didn't work.  Instead, I tried a little wire wrapping.

If you want to make a sunburst of your own, you can find Paula's tutorial here.  You do need the tutorial if you buy the kits from Blue Buddha or C and T designs.

Monday, July 21, 2014

In love with Cylon (not the one you think, though)

My mom asked me to create a watch band using a watch face that she liked.

I looked at different weaves and settled on the cylon weave.

This is a mini version of cylon, using smaller rings.  And I do mean "smaller."  The blue rings in the middle are 3/32 inch -- the smallest rings I've ever used.

I am so proud of how it turned out, though.  I think it's perfect and am already planning a cylon cuff for myself.

You can find instructions for the cylon cuff here on Blue Buddha's site.  The instructions give ring sizes for the regular version (using larger rings) and this version.